21 Feb

Getting Started

Losing weight takes a well-thought-out plan. Here’s how to get started.

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Step 1: Make a commitment

Whether you have a family history of heart disease, want to see your kids get married, or want to feel better in your clothes, write down why you want to lose weight. Writing it down can confirm your commitment. Post these reasons where they serve as a daily reminder of why you want to make this change.

Step 2: Take stock of where you are

Write down everything you eat and drink for a few days in a food and beverage diary. [PDF-127KB]Being more aware of what you eat and drink will help you avoid mindless consumption. Tracking physical activity [PDF-51KB], sleep, and emotions can also help you understand current habits and stressors. This can also help identify areas where you can start making changes.Next, examine your lifestyle. Identify things that might pose challenges to your weight loss efforts. For example, does your work or travel schedule make it hard to get enough physical activity? Do you find yourself eating sugary foods because that’s what you buy for your kids? Do your coworkers often bring high-calorie items, such as doughnuts, to the workplace? Think through things you can do to help overcome these challenges.If you have a chronic condition or a disability, ask your health care provider for resources to support healthy weight. This may include referral to a registered dietitian and other clinical or community programs, federally approved medications or devices, or surgery. Ask for a follow-up appointment to monitor changes in your weight or any related health conditions.

Step 4: Identify resources for information and support

Find family members or friends who will support your weight loss efforts. Coworkers or neighbors with similar goals might share healthy recipes and plan group physical activities. Joining a weight loss group or visiting a health care professional such as a registered dietitian may also help.

Step 5: Continually monitor your progress

Revisit the goals you set in Step 3 and evaluate your progress regularly. Evaluate which parts of your plan are working well and which ones need tweaking. Then rewrite your goals and plan accordingly.If you consistently achieve a particular goal, add a new goal to help you continue your pathway to success.Reward yourself for your successes! Recognize when you’re meeting your goals and be proud of your progress. Use non-food rewards, such as a bouquet of fresh flowers, a sports outing with friends, or a relaxing bath. Rewards help keep you motivated on the path to better health.